The short story, “Life Following High School” by Joyce Carol Oates, is set in the small town of Southern region Lebanon, New york city in 1959. The first 3/4 of the story is the tragic tale of one-sided take pleasure in where Zachary Graff, the intelligent although socially awkward teenager falls in love with Sunny Burhman, the attractive and well-known girl that everyone savors. She rejects his pitch and this individual can’t have it and decides to consider his personal life.

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Later, we find out his true love was Tobias, his one good friend. His take pleasure in for Sunny was his last approach to fit within the best practice rules of society. Oates shows us the intertwined lives of 3 high school students plus the paths taken up free themselves of the entrapment of their uncomfortable 1950s typical lifestyles. Barbara “Sunny” Burhman is known as the most popular too good to be true Christian girl in the account.

She was everything the right, all American 1950’s young lady was said to be. In the beginning of the story she is referred to as ‘Sunny’ because her 6th quality teacher suggested calling her this due to her sunny personality. “Tell you what, boys and girls – let’s phone Barbara ‘Sunny’ from now on – that’s what she is” (Oates 512). Sunny’s flexibility came by simply Zachary choosing his individual life. “The irony had not escaped Barbara Burhman that, in casting away his young life so carelessly, Zachary Graff had liberated her pertaining to hers” (Oates 518). The lady drops the name Sunny and just passes Barbara Burhman.

When she goes off to varsity she excels in college or university and solely works on teachers. She drops all the “Sunny” aspects of her life that trapped her and the girl became a prestigious tutor and writer. There was no place for a great agnostic gay male like Tobias Shanks in a 1950’s small city high school and he is forced to lead his life in secrecy. Following Zachary’s loss of life Tobias Shank’s secret is secure from his fellow kids.

Tobias, just like Barbara, adjustments his name following high school and goes by T. R. Shanks. Unlike Barbara, the author doesn’t let us know Tobias’ exact point of his flexibility from the limitations of the 50’s lifestyle, but it really does come. It possibly comes after the changing times during the the 60’s and 70’s. T. R. is able to turn out and find his place in the world as a homosexual man. This individual goes on to be a successful playwright and overseer winning many awards Oates leads all of us to believe that in the beginning with the story Zachary is a standard awkward intellectual that falls into love together with the perfect young lady in his senior high school.

In reality, his true love is definitely his a single friend Tobias, but the limitations of the 1950’s lifestyle led Zachary to believe that Sunlit was his perfect choice. Up until fatality Zachary was conflicted. The moment both Sunlit and Tobias reject him, death seems his simply way to freedom. Oates gives a few additional understanding about Zachary’s thoughts by telling someone the contents of his car following his suicide.

The author, simply by her quirky ending, left it up for the reader to choose that Zachary may possess contemplated different scenarios that possibly wouldn’t have already been appropriate with the 50’s best life style. In Zachary’s suicide note this individual takes responsibility and produces all parties of any remorse. This suggests that he do feel restricted by the 50’s lifestyle for the very end. Oates publishes articles a story about three high school students from the 1950’s that students of today can empathize with. However still may become other issues of approval, the time period when the story is placed was a particularly conservative period.

Suicide, homosexuality, and women playing important jobs in society outside the home were not section of the social tradition of the 50’s. Today problems are much even more accepted. Oates shows us the intertwined lives of three students and the pathways taken to totally free themselves with the entrapment with their uncomfortable 1955s conventional lifestyles.

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